Friday, February 09, 2024

Letters, I send letters....

The American Friends Service Committee recently had an on-line letter to Congress. As I usually do in such cases, I re-wrote the text to"personalize" it. This is how it came out.


I call on you to demand a cease-fire and humanitarian access in Gaza by endorsing H.Res. 786 “calling for an immediate de-escalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine” or a Senate equivalent. 

As part of that, I want you to oppose new military assistance for Israel, including the supplemental funding request under consideration, until there is clear progress toward an ultimate resolution that respects the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.

According to data provided by the AFSC, since October 7, over 27,000 Palestinians have been killed, 40% of them children. Another 10,000 are estimated to be buried under the rubble. Over 2 million people have been displaced from their homes, and over 70% of homes and other structures in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed. 

The on-going Israeli blockade of Gaza, described more than once as "the world's largest outdoor prison," worsened by the intensified lockdown and now compounded by the US ending aid for UNRWA, has lead to shortages of food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. It is estimated that 85% of the population in Gaza is on the verge of famine.

A cease-fire is needed NOW.

The vicious, bloody attack by Hamas on October 7 deserves no defense and will get none from me. But neither will I defend Israel’s actions in Gaza that so far have killed more than 20 times as many Palestinians and which have been found by the International Court of Justice to plausibly amount to genocide

The lesson of October 7 that should be learned is that further military attacks will bring neither peace nor security for Israel or Israelis. Historically, efforts to militarily "stamp out" a group such as Hamas almost invariably fail, leading instead to decades of suffering for both sides - as this one long since has - that only end when the causes of the conflict are meaningfully addressed.

With that in mind, I ask you this:

    - Given that our Declaration of Independence claims the right, even the duty, of an oppressed people to resistance, and
    - given the existence of Israel is based on the world's recognition of the right of a people to a homeland, and
    - given that you are not going to deny Palestinians both the right of resistance and the right to a homeland,

what is it that you propose Palestinians could and should now do to advance the cause of an independent Palestinian state, particularly now that the Israeli government has openly declared it will "never" agree to that?

Note carefully: You cannot say "No terrorism" because I did not ask what they should not do, but what they should. The lack of a practical answer to that question condemns Palestinians to on-going suffering and oppression and Israelis to continued incidents of terrorism

But for the moment, for this instant, here is what is most important: Please, please do what’s right. Call for a cease-fire and humanitarian access - NOW.


Some of that, I know, repeats things I have said before. They bear repeating.

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